It’s been observed that a lot of attention and money is being directed towards renewable energy sources such as solar, wind power, and for very good reasons. But if a similar impetus is given for improving energy efficiency, the payback would indeed be attractive. Testifying this is Danfoss’s VLT Drives Division. The division offers energy efficiency solutions within HVAC & R, F&B, material handling (including both horizontal and vertical transportation solutions), textiles, energy, water and waste water applications, mining and minerals, chemicals and in several niche general industry applications. Talking on what enables the company to stay on top of the charts, Ravichandran Purushothaman, Member of Danfoss India Management Team & Sr Director of VLT Drives – APA, avers, “the basic urge for Danfoss VLT drives is to enable customers to have easy and efficient control of any application powered by an AC motor. The three significant needs driving our customers and markets are energy efficiency, productivity enhancement and establishing reliability and increasing uptime of systems.” The company has three main facilities located in Denmark (Grasten), USA (Rockford, Illinois) and China (near Shanghai) and each of these factories use lean processes and leverages on their global supply chain model. Danfoss has fully adopted modular principles in development as well as design, production and configuration of VLT drives. All factories are certified according to ISO 14001 standard & all drives fulfill the EU directives. Energy conservation Contrary to what one might think, it’s truly possible to make machines and drives green. Showing the way is Danfoss’s VLT drives which play a huge role in energy conservation. Wherever a centrifugal fan or pump is being run damped or throttled, energy is wasted across the regulating device, creating heat or noise. In HVAC applications, energy savings of approximately 48 per cent can be achieved. “One of the key energy saving features of the VLT drives is automatic energy optimisation (AEO), which constantly adjusts motor voltage to match changing speed and load conditions; a feature that, in itself, cuts energy consumption by 5-10 per cent,” apprises Purushothaman. Other features include the drives having an exclusive digital voltage vector control that provides near perfect output current sine wave and full rated motor voltage at rated frequency, further boosting efficiency in both the drive and motor. “A sleep mode function detects pumps or fans that are running unnecessarily and then turns them off, a simple way to save even more energy. Also, 33 million tons of CO2 is saved every year by the 3.5 million VLT drives that are installed worldwide,” quips he. Danfoss has a statement that says by installing a VLT drive one can save energy equivalent to a power plant each year. Elucidating the same with an example, Purushothaman says, “take a HVAC & refrigeration application with nominal power of 20 KW. Solving using fixed speed @ 50 Hz supply will take approximately 30 KW of heat, roughly 7 KW are wasted and the efficiency is around 23 per cent. If we apply on the same application a VLT drive, the waste heat @13 KW to app 1.86 KW of power would be wasted. The efficiency is around 38 to 39 per cent and the increase in efficiency is 60 to 65 per cent. Thus our annual sales year-on-year enable customers to save energy which is equivalent to a size of a power plant.” Mass customisation With a unique supply chain model, Danfoss claims to be the largest and leading supplier of mass customised VLT drives in the world. “Our customers need very dedicated solutions and we ensure to deliver them by working very closely with their requirements including SW functionalities which is preloaded before being shipped to the customer. Every customer/user can also modify the programming to suit the application,” states Purushothaman. Twenty five hundred employees develop, manufacture, sell and service drives in more than one hundred countries, focused only on drives, unlike their competitors who deal with multiple products right from switches to drives. “This is why we are called as ‘The drives specialist’ in the market. We develop and produce our own features, hardware, software, power modules, printed circuit boards, and accessories,” affirms Purushothaman. With a 24/7 service facility, onsite training, the company also has an E-learning system, which helps their customers and partners to up-skill continuously and the system offers services across the globe albeit adjusted to suit local conditions of any country thus offering local backup-globally. The Indian strategy The company in recent times announced the launch of ‘India 2015’, a growth strategy that outlines how Danfoss plans to tap further into the fast growing Indian market aiming to triple its turnover by 2015. As a part of the strategy, Danfoss expects to invest 500 million DKK over the next four years in a new R&D and manufacturing facility and simultaneously expand its sales effort throughout the country. “During this period, we will also ramp up our headcount in India from 200 to well above 1000 by 2015,” empahsises Noel Ryan, President, Danfoss India. “We need to offer the best in class services and products to our Indian customers to make them energy efficient and globally competitive in their own businesses. Two-thirds of India is yet to be built, therefore the country offers huge opportunities for growth. We are currently investigating if India needs dedicated products and we will be there if there is a strong need.” ?
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